Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Planning jobs that do not directly deal with the public

  1. #1
    Cyburbian LorenzoRoyal's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Reno, Nevada; San Pedro, California
    Posts
    59

    Planning jobs that do not directly deal with the public

    I'm in a slight dilemma as I write this: While I do like my job, I've been exposed on the problems I have (more like weaknesses) working with the public. Is there a such thing as positions that do not deal with the public as much? If so, where could I look online? I would really appreciate all responses.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,247
    We have lots of positions like that where I work. These folks usually do stuff like forcasting or modelling. My best suggestion would be to look for a place with a large staff.

    It would serve you better to try to fit in. Most folks in the public do not bite. If you have had some bad experiences dealing with some people, chances are those folks are just miserable people. If you are painfully shy its best to take some steps in how to get over some of those hurdles.

    My agency actually brought in folks to teach us how to get the public to open up and 'network'. They were concerned that many on the staff had to sharpen skills in these areas. It was good training.

    Here are some suggestions:
    - Smile more
    - Listen to the person
    - Repeat what you believe they are saying so you can properly phrase your response.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Promoting synergies...
    Posts
    3,563
    Try the Arizona State Land Department. They do not seek input from the public or the muncipality for the lands that they plan.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Upper left edge
    Posts
    4,284
    Quote Originally posted by Brocktoon View post
    Try the Arizona State Land Department. They do not seek input from the public or the muncipality for the lands that they plan.
    Same for any state department of transportation.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian The District's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2005
    Location
    New Hampshire Seacoast
    Posts
    375
    lots of us private-sector planners don't have as much interaction with the public (unless you do charrettes, etc.). i don't know if you can TOTALLY avoid it in any capacity, but general avoidance is pretty easy outside of municipal planning.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    4
    I'm not sure what exactly you mean by "working with the public", but I can think of a few general jobs that typically have limited contact with the public. Research and analyst positions such as those needed for demographic / market analysis could work. These positions exist for private consulting firms, policy think-tanks, universities and some government planning agencies that have larger staff. The same would also go for GIS focused positions, and those can be found throughout the planning world. The caveat for both is that one needs to interact with people to obtain data, so if this is what you have trouble with then it might not work.

    If you have graphic or computer graphics skills, a graphics production position could work. This would be most likely to be found with private firms. Depending on the size and purpose of the consulting firm, one could be a planner and have limited contact with the public if there is a principal or senior planner that typically does client management and public meetings.

    Basically, if you want to stay in planning but not interact with the public, you'll want to specialize in something - typically computer / production oriented. If you have desire to do more than this - in either the public or private sectors, you'll need to interact with the public at some point.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian LorenzoRoyal's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Reno, Nevada; San Pedro, California
    Posts
    59
    Just reading through the posts. (Finally got back around to reading the forums here--more to do with a hectic workplace ) I appreciate them all. I remember seeing Caltrans at the APA conference during the week and it reminded me that they are quite the behind-the-scenes type agency. Once again, appreciate all the responses.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Scottsdale, Az
    Posts
    16
    Quote Originally posted by Otis View post
    Same for any state department of transportation.
    oh that is so not true... if there's anyone govt related that gets the screeching from the public, it is the DOT...and they tend to do a lot of public meetings in AZ considering the amount of negative feedback they *always* get.

    AZ state land doesn't do public meetings themselves...BUT...they do at times provide an employee in the know for public meetings if they think the public needs them there. it's not often though but i have seen it done.

    if you want to stay out of the public eye, don't go DOT unless it's in their modeling dept.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    9,036
    Blog entries
    2
    I have been eyeing this thread because I am somewhat realizing my introverted-ness particularly when dealing with a situation in which the customer/citizen may not like my answer.
    I keep telling myself that I have bosses and coworkers that support me and all of what I do is backed up by codes and laws, but I cannot shake the fact that people may not like what I am telling them.
    Usually this works out okay and people accept news cordially and are willing to work with me on finding solutions, but there have been times, particularly in this small town where I get challenged. I find myself then stumbling over an answer which makes things worse because these antagonists seem to feed off of that. Then the only child in my kicks in and I get pissed because they are not conforming to my ways.

    I was very glad today when the code enforcement officer took over some of the calls I had to make to get people to move their used cars off of private property... I have been having a little trouble with follow up questions from sign violators recently. They cannot accept the answer that it is against the code and I may just have to tell the to quit littering the town with their cheap crap signs.

    There. It is out. I feel better.
    I am currently looking for creative, private-sector design opportunities but I am not adverse to long haul trucking if anyone knows of anything...
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Scottsdale, Az
    Posts
    16
    you're not the only one! i actually get really excited about public meetings..being able to converse with people, get their opinions and thoughts/ideas...but lately, our public meetings have been on fire (as in, people really want someone to bitch to and loudly), so it's kinda made me more afraid of talking to people much less giving them news i know they probably don't want to hear. I'm more of a people person/pleaser and believe it or not, sometimes i let it get to me too easily, too quickly.

    so, you're, by far, not the only one that feels more introverted.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    9,036
    Blog entries
    2
    I don't mind the public meetings. I excelled at speaking with a large group in a regional Economic Development meeting about a month ago. (I had no "back-up" from town staff, and was relatively on my own with people much older and entrenched in the community than I).

    BUT

    Just now a nit picky developer called to argue the finer points of infrastructure improvements and I froze. NOw I have to call a group meeting with my superiors and the developer and hope that staff here doesn't resent me for it.

    Maybe I should go huff baggage at the airport....
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Scottsdale, Az
    Posts
    16
    ok, now you've done it.... you're going to have to share your tips on how you overcame the public meeting/speaking ordeal(s). HAHA

    I'll start up a new thread so it doesn't hijack this puppy. not sure which forum i'd put that in though

    i doubt ramping at the airport would be much better. then you have to deal with cranky airport managers and crabby passengers (like my husband does). sometimes he wishes for a desk job (his "view at 30,000" is a lot nicer though IMO).

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2002
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,741
    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN View post
    ...Just now a nit picky developer called to argue the finer points of infrastructure improvements and I froze. NOw I have to call a group meeting with my superiors and the developer and hope that staff here doesn't resent me for it.
    ....
    Are you being too hard on yourself here? It's probably not your job to know the finer points of infrastructure improvements. Whoever's job it is might not want you trying to give those answers.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    9,036
    Blog entries
    2
    Quote Originally posted by Seabishop View post
    Are you being too hard on yourself here? It's probably not your job to know the finer points of infrastructure improvements. Whoever's job it is might not want you trying to give those answers.
    Alas, but as the planner (so it seems in every Colorado municipality for whom I have worked) must be the public face, I am expected somewhat to know these answers as I have had to be the front man for weasly engineers for quite sometime and I usually take the brunt of complaints from the public for engineering/infrastructure issues. (At my last job, the majority of neighborhood meetings involved traffic complaints and the M.O. of said former employer's engineering department was not to attend public meetings because they cannot be expected to give an answer right away). Hence my thoughts on public-sector planners being more-or-less "hired scapegoats" and/or "engineer support".

    Regardless, at this job, yes, I am not expected to know the finer points of our pending infrsturacutre improvement grants from the state and what it means for developers looking in downtown, but I was on the phone with the guy and he expected answers and balked when I said we need to call a meeting with the people who know. My boss and partner certainly would help out when needed. But the expectation to solve a problem is there from the public and the town official with whom they speak should have all the answers.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 0
    Last post: 10 Sep 2009, 7:30 PM
  2. Replies: 17
    Last post: 13 Jun 2008, 9:56 AM
  3. Replies: 27
    Last post: 13 Aug 2007, 11:35 AM
  4. Retail open directly to public space
    Design, Space, and Place
    Replies: 4
    Last post: 31 Jan 2007, 3:17 PM
  5. Replies: 7
    Last post: 12 Jan 2004, 11:02 AM